Writing in this blog has always been emotional. I started it as a way to document my journey through cancer, to keep my family and friends overseas updated. So I thought.
But really, I was using this new platform to make my voice heard. The voice of someone who was afraid of dying and scared of not seeing his children grow up. Words on a webpage give a sense of being alive. Paper, that you can touch with your fingers is even better. Diary, journal, blog, call it whatever you want.
Many times I thought I would write the last chapter, close the book and move on.
I vividly remember at the end of the my first chemo. My Mom was spending the last three months of my treatment with us. She came all the way from France to Southeastern Virginia to help us function as a family, and sail through this storm with more hands on deck.
The night of my last chemo, she organized with my wife a little ceremony. It was late September. The weather was nice enough to enjoy a barbecue in the back yard. My Mom had bought a note book, with blank pages. She asked everyone of us to write something in it about this journey now ending. We all did, then she took the book, and threw it in the fire. We all watched this bad episode of our life burn in the charcoals. Highly symbolic, yet, it felt so right.
Unfortunately, several months later, right after the New Year, my doctor informed us that the cancer was back. Back to square one. The book didn’t want to disappear.
New chapter and new fight. New struggles and new victories. This time, more of our family came to the rescue. My dad and my sister, from France. My father and mother in law, from the West coast. The whole team came together as the challenge and the stakes were much higher than the first time.
During this relapse, I reopened my book, and resumed writing. From this voice who first wanted to be heard in order to survive, it turned into a therapeutic tool.
When the obsessing thoughts of dying or relapsing again and again would uncontrollably spin in my head, putting my mind into words always brought ease, then Peace. To see my own words, structured, on a piece of paper or on a webpage, was the reflection of my own self, my soul, which had not derailed yet since I was able to keep control of it through the process of writing. All along, I learned to face myself, my fears, through this book of Life.
This introspection work is now making sense. Seven years after the initial diagnosis and six years in remission, this is still me facing this blank page. Although I have walked this journey with people who love me and supported me tremendously, at the end of the day, the person I am facing is still myself.
When I was looking for a name for my blog, I decided to focus on my kids, my little boys, who I would always fight for. This seemed natural and logical.
In the background, I always had my wife at the heart of everything. Without her, I don’t think I would be here today. She carried much of the weight over the years so our family could survive too.
I am forever grateful for her and that role she had in my Life. I hope the words I have chosen for her in all my writings will remain as the testimony of my eternal gratitude.
This year, the book has continued without her as one of the main character.
A new blank page is in front of me, like many times before. Nothing has really changed, except my own perspective. The perspective that all along, it was not just about cancer, not just about her, not just about my kids, but about this blank page, right there, and what I choose to write on it.
End of a chapter. Starting a new one. And many more.